News of Radio Prague

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Plane scare ends well

Three crew members aboard a Czech Airlines /CSA /flight from New York to Prague sustained light injuries and one of the 92 passengers on board fainted when the plane unexpectedly entered an area of high turbulence over Great Britain. The plane landed safely at Prague's Ruzyne Airport. Czech Airlines spokesman Dan Plovajko told journalists there had been no turbulence warning and no time for the crew to get to their seats. The stewards suffered some bruising and the woman who briefly fainted was later taken to hospital for a precautionary check-up. The plane's interior is said to have been slightly damaged in the turbulence and the plane is now in maintenance. No technical faults or damage of any kind was found.

Czech-Thai talks may help prisoners come home

The Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan met with his Thai counterpart Surakiat Sathirathai in Bangkok on Tuesday and asked for Thai support for a Czech bid to chair the 57th United Nations General Assembly. According to some reports the two officials likewise discussed the fate of two Czechs who are currently serving a 50 year prison sentence in Bangkok for drug-trafficking. There is allegedly a real possibility that the two could serve their prison sentences in the Czech Republic. Bilateral relations and trade were also high on the agenda of the talks. Minister Kavan reportedly lobbied for Thailand to buy more Czech goods, particularly vehicles such as Skoda cars. In turn, the Thai foreign minister asked his Czech counterpart to see what he could do to relax Czech import regulations which have limited Thai sales to the Czech Republic in recent years.

Prague tram drivers on strike alert

Tram drivers in Prague have gone on strike alert, demanding to be paid wages on par with those of bus and metro drivers. They claim that tram drivers have long been discriminated against financially and say that a metro driver's monthly wage is on average 7,000 crowns higher. A spokesman for the tram drivers union said on Tuesday that he could not rule out a several hour long warning strike if the union's demands were not taken seriously.

Lower House approves reform plan for Czech Railways

The Lower House of Parliament on Tuesday approved by a narrow vote margin a reform plan for Czech Railways, according to which the mammoth enterprise is to be divided into two state owned companies: one which will provide railroad services and a sister company which will own the infrastructure. Opponents to the reform plan say it does not go far enough to make Czech railways a modern and competitive company. However Czech Railways has sustained heavy losses in recent years and the majority of deputies admit that reforms are long overdue. The bill has yet to be signed by President Havel.

Border guards detain 11 illegal refugees

Austrian border guards say they have detained a group of 11 illegal refugees attempting to cross the Czech-Austrian border under cover of night. The group allegedly included several young children but thanks to the relatively warm weather they were all in physically good condition. The border officials who questioned them say they are Armenian nationals, who have apparently been granted asylum in the Czech Republic.

And finally a look at the weather forecast for the coming hours:

the night should be overcast with rain in places and temps between 5 and 1 degs C, in Moravia, the eastern part of the country as low as minus 1. On Wednesday morning fog should give way to "cloudy to overcast" skies and we can expect some drizzle in the course of the day. Day temps between 5 and 10 degs C.